Under the American Taxpayer Relief Act (“ATRA”) signed into law by President Obama on January 2, 2013, widows and widowers can add any unused portion of the $5,250,000 lifetime estate tax exemption of the spouse who passed away to their own lifetime federal estate exemptions. So this enables the remaining spouse to be able to transfer up to $10.24 million tax-free. However, the executor of the estate must file an estate tax return after the first spouse dies within the statutory nine months after the death of the first spouse in order for the surviving spouse to take advantage of the portability right. If the executor does not file the return or misses the filing death, the surviving spouse loses the portability right.
New York estate and tax matters are complicated and usually require the advice of a New York probate and estate attorney. A New York probate and estate attorney can prepare the life insurance/”Crummy trust” for you and other estate planning documents including a will, health care proxy, living will, power of attorney. If you wish to speak to a New York estate attorney, call the Law Offices of Albert Goodwin at (212) 233-1233.